The Cover story of 

"Feather from the Kakahu" 

Our covers are as important as the text and they are planned out well in advance of the book being ready to print.  
The first step is the story board which is a series of sketches where I figure out what I want on the cover.

We had a concept for the Cover from our first book in the trilogy "Heart of the Tapu Stone".  
It was photographed and then put layered graphically by the digital artist and photographer Norm Heke.  It was designed by graphic designer and artist Mia Webb.  
The model we used was Amber McGregor my brother Jamies second daughter as the protagonist Laurel.    
The first book was essentially a fish out of water story of a girl going to a small rural town from the city.  
The second book, is essentially a fish out of water story of a girl leaving a tiny rural town and travelling to a city on the opposite side of the world. 
I planned to use the same costume but I wanted a totally different look and energy to the Cover, with a colder colour palette and a contrasting model.

The character I wanted to portray on the second cover, Mauki,  had already been established in the first book. 
I wanted to use my niece Alia Ah Far as my model.  She had the exact mix of strength and vulnerability as the character Mauki, although their personalities couldn't be more different. 
I forbade her from cutting her hair until the photoshoot.

She is in integral part of the Dusky publishing team working 'front of house' at all our events.  She has also worked at Dusky as a beta reader, a proof reader and has transcribed entire manuscripts.
She always turns up and always does her job and is game enough to take on any task we have thrown at her over the years.

Alia is a lovely young woman with a sweet quiet nature.  She is also a talented athlete and focused hard working student.  She excels at Netball, Rugby and she is a premiere level Tennis player.  
Alia has just won a sport and academic scholarship to play Rugby at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri, USA.  

Our photographer was "Big Mark" Mark Fa’amaoni of "Big Mark Creative" who photographed the Launch Party for this book, and the cover of the next book.  
This was the first time we worked with him and he did a fantastic job.  Please check out his portfolio, he specialises in big Wellington events.
He has a great imagination and turned my story board into gorgeous, vibrant photographs of Alia that were simply stunning.

Alia was a great model.  
She was gracious, composed, patient and has a great sense of stillness.
She was calm through the process even when she was posing up Mount Victoria in the rain, on a freezing cold beach and in the city at night.
Her sisters, mother and aunties were there to support her with warm blankets, robes and touch-up make up.
The photoshoot took all day.

This is the shot we used as the final cover.  
I liked the contrast of the eyes and the hands with the first cover.
Although these two girls are different  they are from the same whanau.
It was not my favourite shot of Alia from the shoot but it was a reflection of the energy of the book. 
For the cover design I took the colours for the backgrounds and fonts from the photograph.  
The grey gave a feeling of coolness which juxtaposed again the warm colour of her skin.

This is what the book looks like on the shelf in a bookshop.  
Yes, thats me next to Patricia Grace.